In a jam

Yesterday, Sh. and I were inspired while at the market to make strawberry jam. (Well, she’s had this inspiration for a while, but when we saw seconds on sale at a berry stand, this plan finally came into fruition, so to speak.) We purchased a little under 20 ℓ of berries, and somehow made it home with them on our bicycles. After processing, we had something on the order of 10 ℓ of hulled, washed, and mashed fruit, which will render about 12½ ℓ of jam. The conventional freezer jam recipe, as given by my home preserving bible, the USDA Canning Guide, on the subject, would require a ridiculous 80 cups of sugar in addition to pectin to jell properly. Sh. doesn’t like this approach because it requires too much sugar, and I’m not a fan because the jam doesn’t set until you bring it to a boil, leaving you with a taste and consistency very different than fresh fruit. So, we bought an alternative citrus-based pectin which sets using calcium instead of sugar (we also used this last fall when making blueberry jam). It has a unique gooey texture that takes a little getting used to, but the flavour of the fruit (especially when not overwhelmed by sugar) more than makes up for it. So far, we’ve processed about half the strawberries. We’ll do the rest this afternoon, leaving aside enough for a few pies for dinner tomorrow night. Hurrah for summer!

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